Bill Cosby has received a three to 10-year prison sentence after being found guilty of sexual assault. Judge Steven T. O’Neill handed down the sentence at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa. The sentence means that Cosby will spend at least three years behind bars and then will become eligible for supervised release.
Cosby will have to pay a $25,000 penalty within the next 12 months, as well as pay for the cost of prosecution. The actor will also be required to take a sex offenders program. Cosby, once known as “America’s Dad,” was escorted out of the courtroom in handcuffs and taken to state prison.
Pennsylvania’s Sexual Offenders Assessment Board determined Cosby should be classified as a sexually violent predator in July. Judge O’Neill agreed, citing the testimonies and statutory definitions. As a result, the actor will have to register with state police for the rest of his life and inform authorities of all temporary dwellings. Failure to comply will result in a felony.
The comedian was accused of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004. Constand was an administrator for the women’s basketball team at Cosby’s alma mater, Temple University in January 2004 when she claims the incident occurred. She testified that she visited Cosby’s Philadelphia house for career advice and was drugged and sexually assaulted by him.
Cosby denied any wrongdoing and claimed their encounter was consensual. The case went to trial in 2017. After the first trial ended in a mistrial, Cosby was retried and found guilty on three charges of aggravated indecent assault in April. According to published reports, Constand is one of at least 60 women to accuse Cosby of sexual misconduct. Several of those women attended the sentencing hearing.
The defense had asked the judge for discretionary release or bail, which was ultimately denied with the judge noting the seriousness of the crime. The sentencing guidelines for his conviction are between 22 and 36 months for a standard sentence. Cosby was given the opportunity to speak before sentencing, but decided not to address the court.